MINNEAPOLIS – Students from Hale Elementary School on June 14 were recognized by the Minneapolis Board of Education for their achievements in the “First in Math” online learning program. Hale placed first out of all grades in the state of Minnesota and 21st in the nation. In addition, a third-grade class taught by Josh Bliss finished 30th in the nation for all grades and first in the nation for third grade.
Two students in Bliss’s class were individually honored for placing in the top 100 in the nation. Mandie Flint placed 30th for all grades, fifth for all third-graders in the nation and first overall for the state of Minnesota. Emma Haugstad ranked 66th in the country for all grades, 11th for all third graders in the nation and second in the state for all grades.
The First in Math program works to increase student achievement in mathematics by reinforcing regular classroom math teaching. First in Math uses a brain-based learning technique known as “deep practice,” which accelerates skills in computation, problem-solving, critical thinking and pattern recognition. These efforts are aligned with the Minneapolis Public Schools strategic plan goals of raising rigor and academic achievement for all students.
“Research shows the effectiveness of using online methods to practice math skills, and the First in Math program functions as this type of online supplement,” said Mary Ellen Knappmiller, a teacher on special assignment with the MPS Teaching and Learning department. “It also provides reinforcement in test-taking skills. It really stretches any student, no matter where he or she is at.”
The exceptionally high scores achieved by Bliss’s class were roughly 60 percent higher than the second place national scores. There were over 1.2 million participants in the “First in Math” program this year.